Friday, June 17, 2022


Jeet Heer says what I've been thinking after January 6 hearing:
Beyond laying out the case against Trump and his inner circle, the purpose of the hearings has clearly been to sort out the decent Republicans from the miscreants. [Michael] Luttig and [John] Eastman ... were presented as a study in contrasts, as were Mike Pence and Donald Trump. The presentation was designed to draw in Republican support for the anti-Trump case.

... Never Trump Republicans were the guiding spirits of the hearings, setting the agenda of trying to present a narrative that redeems the party as a whole while holding guilty only a few individuals (Trump and his inner circle). Even most of Trump’s advisers were allowed to recast themselves as members of a “Team Normal” that tried to blunt the former president’s worst instincts....

The hearings are designed to give Republicans a face-saving off-ramp for leaving Trumpism behind. If they accept the findings of the hearings, they can still be proud Republicans and only reject a handful of leaders. They can even keep Mike Pence if they just reject Trump. But there’s little evidence that most Republicans want to take up this offer.
I understand why this approach to the hearings would appeal to the select committee's Never Trumpers, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. I understand why Republicans like Mitch McConnell who are sick of Trump but can't publicly acknowledge their disgust might privately be rooting for the committee to bring Trump and clear the way for a new generation of GOP leaders.

But what's in it for Democrats?

Many leftists would say that the Democratic Party is a Potemkin-liberal branch of America's right-wing plutocratic Uniparty, and that Democrats want to keep losing and hope we don't notice that their failure is by design. I don't buy that. I don't think they're clever enough or skillful enough to pull off that level of fakery (although select Democrats -- Manchin, Sinema -- seem to have sufficient skill and gall to pull off this con).

I think Democrats have been beaten so thoroughly by Republicans since the Reagan era that they're hostages in love with their captors. The Stockholm Democrats need to believe that the party controlling their lives and limiting their movement is kindly and benign. A strong Republican Party is good! Mitch McConnell is Joe Biden's friend!

Stockholm Democrats do feel anger toward Trump and wish for his political demise. They may believe they're allowed to feel this because many Republicans say in private that they wish Trump would go away. But instead of turning Democrats against the GOP as a whole, this state of affiars reinforces Democrats' sense that the remaining Republicans deserve to be admired and protected.

I don't know how we reverse this. Maybe turnover in the leadership of the party will take care of it, assuming the Democratic Party survives long enough for that to happen.

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